Shirt sleeves straining, tap shoes tapping and a smile so wide it swallows the world. He’s even handsome when hirsute! When he makes the leap from stage to screen, actors everywhere hold their breath. Is it possible to have it all?
It helps to be a triple threat. That’s what mom tells me before signing me up for dance class. Me in the mirror in my leotard. Me imagining the bully’s fat red faces when I accept my first Oscar.
Hugh marries Deborra-Lee in ’96, long before becoming a worldwide celebrity. Deborra’s an actress, too. Even stars in one of mom’s all time-faves: Falcon Crest.
Margaret from props is my first real kiss. In the right light, she looks a little like Mayim Bialik.
Oh, what a beautiful morning! Hugh plays Curly before he ever gets to Wolverine. Critics say he “reinvents the swaggering male musical lead with an irresistible magnetism and ability to infuse a song with emotional realness.”
My high school doesn’t stage Oklahoma, but we do put on Pippin. Critics say “I didn’t know a seventeen-year-old boy’s voice could go that high.” My mom reminds me I just have to find my “Corner of the Sky.”
Ruby loves Hugh as much as me. I meet her as a swing in the touring cast of Wicked. Ruby is the understudy for Glinda. One night she gets the part after the lead suffers food poisoning. To celebrate, I wait backstage in full Wolverine gear. A bouquet clasped in my claws. Ruby hugs me and whispers, “You should have bigger muscles.”
In 2023, Hugh and Deborra sadly separate.
I’m microwaving a Trader Joe’s bean burrito in the teacher’s lounge when my mom’s text comes through. Poor Hugh. Nothing is guaranteed.
Coleman Bigelow's stories have appeared recently in Abandon Journal, Bending Genres, Emerge Journal, and The Dribble Drabble Review. His first chapbook In Rare Cases and Other Unfortunate Circumstances was published in May by Alien Buddha Press. Find more at: www.colemanbigelow.com
Twitter: ColemanBigelow; IG: cbigswrites